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Today's word on journalism

Friday, May 12, 2006

THE FINAL WORD

PETERSBORO, Utah -- Gloom like a Bulwer-Lyttonesque pall hung heavily over the Cache Valley as word came that the WORD had gone.

"As he stared at her ample bosom, he daydreamed of the dual Stromberg carburetors in his vintage Triumph Spitfire. . . ." No, wait. . . . That's actual Bulwer-Lyttonism. Scratch it.

We conclude, with joy and trumpets and a tankard or two, the 10th season of TODAY'S WORD ON JOURNALISM. What began in 1995 as a professor's strategy to get his students to read email (guess that worked!) now has spread, birdflu-like, far beyond that unwilling audience to self-flagellating WORD volunteers on five-and-a-half continents. But the willing and unwilling alike--the halt and addled and addicted and deluded--will have to get a life and smell the roses, for a while anyway.

Today marks the end of the WORD for this academic season. Even ere the rosy dawn that didth bust o'er this glade, this vale, this happy home. . . . ooops. Avert already, Sir Bulwer, you mangy cur!!!!

See you in the fall. . . TP

Old Rock Church in Providence owns rich, diverse history

By Taylor Scott

April 9, 2006 | PROVIDENCE -- After passing the illuminated stained glass windows your first impressions of the majestic Providence Inn and Old Rock Church are those of a quaint and cozy hideaway.  The building greets you with warmth.  When you walk in you feel as though your sweet old grandma will come around the corner with a mug dripping of hot cocoa, and warm freshly baked chocolate chip cookies.  The air smells of history, and the peacefulness of the inn can be deafening. 

The former Providence LDS chapel and meeting house was added to the National Register of Historic Places in 1982.  The historic roots of the Old Rock Church and Inn go deep, back to the arrival of the pioneers. 

Construction on the rock meeting house began in 1869, making it one of the oldest buildings in Cache Valley, even in the entire state of Utah. The work was done by pioneers that had crossed the continent in covered wagons and hand carts.  The church was built using mostly materials obtained locally, including the rocks which were extracted from nearby mountains, said current owner Karl Seethaler.

"The heritage is what we are all about, it's almost like communing with the pioneers," said Seethaler. 

Over the years this historic building has served as much more than an inn and church, said Seethaler.  It was temporarily used as the LDS First Ward chapel; it was, in the early years, used socially as a theater and community center for all of Cache Valley. Seethaler said it was famous for its all-night dances due to the fact it had the finest dance floor in the entire valley.  Also, a group of entertainers called the "Providence Players" performed dramas and musicals on its stage.

Unfortunately, as the valley's population grew other buildings began to take its place in the heart of Providence and this magnificent building faded into history. In 1968, the LDS Church sold the building and from 1968 through 1979 it was owned and operated by Dennis and Edith Carlson. They constructed a staircase in the chapel, modifying the room into a wedding and reception area which was named "Rosella Manor."  However, Seethaler said, the owners used the building mostly for storing fabrics for a business the family owned in Providence.

The building was sold again in 1979 to Cliff and Elaine Mayfield.  The Mayfields used the building as a residential care facility for the elderly; they made many modifications to the building while still keeping that historic feeling and history.  Sadly, Seethaler said, the couple had to sell the premises in September 1993, after Cliff Mayfield contracted cancer and could no longer care for the building.

Seethaler purchased the building from the Mayfields in 1993.  Seethaler said he stumbled upon it after moving to Providence, and while in search of Providence city offices he had apparently confused the two buildings. 

"Whether it is empty or has people in it this building still holds dignity," Seethaler said, adding, "It was impressive then and still is today."

It wasn't until the early winter of 1994 that he decided to turn the property into a bed and breakfast.  Seethaler then made several renovations, even requesting outside help from interior designer Elizabeth Rogers of the College of Family Life at Utah State University.  Seethaler now uses the building as an inn and wedding reception area. 

Seethaler said, "Bed and Breakfasts are often used as a means to preserve historic buildings.

"At first sight it is interesting, it's an interesting place," was Seethaler's response, when asked what makes the Inn so charming.

Finally, when asked whether any famous people had stayed at the Inn Seethaler was reluctant to release names for privacy reasons but did say several LDS church authorities along with entertainers had stayed on the property.  Also, Seethaler added that the QVC Network had broadcast from the premises. 

The Providence Inn and Old Rock Church is at 10 S. Main St. in Providence.

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